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Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware

On Mon, Aug 28, 2006 at 02:23:10PM -0700, Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
> Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> writes:
> >         4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware
> > shall also not be considered a program.
> I am bothered that there is never a definition of "firmware" here.  It
> seems to me that if you gave one, it would be something like:
> "firmware is a program which runs on a secondary CPU inside the
> computer."

And that would be false, since the firmware was originally something refering
to the bios or other enablement software for hardware boards.

This is a definition present in terms like OpenFirmware (IEEE 1275), and also
in various hardware manufacturer documentation, the x86 bios being an example
of such firmware.

In cases like hte NLSU thingy, the firmware goes to include the whole linux +
userland stack on top of whatever they use for booting, since it is held in
the flash of the board.

I suppose that in the OneLaptopPerChild project, which holds a 512MB flash
disk, the system will also be able to be labeled firmware, not sure if they
will use this word.

In this sense, the firmware uploaded to a wireless or bluetooth chip, most of
them holding an arm core, is very similar to a uclinux or even fully fledged
linux running on a cell phone or other embedded device.


Sven Luther

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